skinema book

Skinema Review

[ by Adam Scott ]

If you need any more of a hint, here’s the title of the first book I read, by sometime Vice columnist Chris Nieratko, a skating enthusiast who’s good friends with “Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville (who with sincerity calls Nieratko an asshole during the book’s introduction): “Skinema.”

Yeah, that’s the title.

Nieratko wrote a column of the same name in the skating magazine “Big Brother” during its last few years, before it was discontinued by new owner Larry Flynt. Not-too-ironically, Nieratko’s column was supposed to be his alleged reviews of adult films, perhaps in some effort to tie the magazine in with many of Mr. Flynt’s less skating-oriented (OK, pornographic) ventures.

It didn’t happen that way, though. With few exceptions, every column shows the cover of the movie box, its title and production company, gives an arbitrary rating ranging from 1 to 12 (I think — I might have missed a number or two outside that range) and a severely messed-up story from Nieratko’s debaucherous, daring, inebriated, chaotic, inappropriate, gleeful and at times violent life, tangentially related to the purported pornographic film to be reviewed.

For example, an adult film with the name “Kate” in the title inspired Nieratko to reminisce about a relationship he had with a girl of the same name — a relationship which, like a few he mentions, did not end well at all. Toward the end of the book, Nieratko’s tone mellows, generally becoming a bit more subdued as he enters into a stable relationship with the compassionate, brave saint of a woman who is now his wife.

Having said that, I’d still be scared to meet the guy. He’s crazy, drunken, boorish and apparently travels abroad often enough to make me understand how the people of these United States get both dirty looks and stares of fearful awe in some pretty remote corners of the world. Also, Nieratko seems to, um, soil himself from time to time.

“Skinema” is an interesting read if for no other reason than it chronicles the passage of an intelligent, unabashed, venial, hilarious, intoxicated, outrageous, hedonistic, brutally honest jerk from late adolescence to something resembling a slightly more mature and worldly-wise late adolescence.

For “Jackass” fans who enjoy reading stuff longer than a skate mag, or would like to someday, I would have to say “Skinema” makes excellent bathroom reading material. Especially if you like vulgar tales of sex, drugs, fights, pain, petty thefts, rage, booze, more fights, fear, vandalism and the creation of several epic messes.


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